The Difference Between Corporate TAX and VAT in UAE

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), both Corporate Tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) are significant revenue-generating mechanisms for the government, yet they operate distinctly in their scope and impact. Corporate Tax pertains to the taxation of profits earned by businesses, thereby affecting their net earnings and overall financial performance. On the other hand, Value Added Tax (VAT) is a consumption-based tax levied on goods and services at each stage of the supply chain, ultimately borne by the end consumer. This fundamental distinction results in diverse implications for businesses and consumers alike, shaping the economic landscape of the UAE in distinct ways. In this context, understanding the key disparities between Corporate Tax and VAT is vital for comprehending their respective contributions to the UAE’s fiscal structure and economic dynamics.


What is the corporate tax in UAE:

Corporate tax will be paid directly to the government and calculated by considering the net income of the company, not the total revenue or sales volume.

Corporate tax, also known as corporate income tax or company tax, is a direct tax imposed on the profits earned by corporations, businesses, and other legal entities. It is typically calculated based on the net income or profit generated by a company over a specific period, such as a fiscal year. Corporate tax rates and regulations can vary widely between countries and jurisdictions.

The tax is usually applied to various forms of business entities, including corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and other legal structures that generate income. Corporate tax services in UAE is an important source of revenue for governments and plays a significant role in funding public services and government expenditures.

The calculation of corporate tax involves deducting allowable business expenses, exemptions, deductions, and credits from a company’s total revenue to determine its taxable income. The applicable tax rate is then applied to this taxable income to calculate the final tax liability.

It’s important to note that corporate tax can have a significant impact on a company’s financial performance and decision-making processes, as it directly affects the after-tax profits that a company can retain or distribute to shareholders as dividends.

What is VAT in UAE:

VAT is the Consumption tax levied on the sale of goods and services. The customer pays it at the time of purchase. On the other hand, corporate tax is levied on a business’s taxable income.

Value Added Tax (VAT) is a consumption-based tax levied on the value added at each stage of the supply chain of goods and services. It is ultimately borne by the end consumer and is collected by businesses on behalf of the government. VAT is intended to generate revenue for the government while distributing the tax burden more evenly among consumers.

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), VAT was introduced on January 1, 2018, at a standard rate of 5%. This means that when goods or services are bought or sold, a 5% tax is added to the transaction value. Businesses that are registered for VAT are required to charge this tax on their sales and remit the collected amount to the government. However, businesses can also reclaim VAT paid on their inputs or purchases, effectively reducing the net tax liability.

VAT affects a wide range of goods and services, although certain items like essential food items, healthcare services, and education may be exempt or subject to a zero rate (i.e., a 0% VAT rate is applied, but businesses can still claim input VAT refunds).

The introduction of VAT in the UAE was a significant economic policy change, providing a new source of revenue for the government and encouraging greater fiscal sustainability. It also prompted businesses to review and adapt their pricing structures, financial systems, and tax compliance processes to accommodate the new tax regime.

What is the difference between corporate tax and VAT in UAE:

In the context of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the distinction between UAE corporate tax and VAT services is crucial for businesses to navigate the country’s taxation landscape. UAE corporate tax pertains to the taxation of profits earned by businesses operating within the country. However, as of my last knowledge update in September 2021, UAE does not impose a federal corporate income tax on most companies. Exceptions include companies engaged in oil exploration and production, as well as branches of foreign banks, which are subject to a specific tax rate. On the other hand, VAT services in the UAE involve the application of a 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) on goods and services at each stage of the supply chain. This tax is ultimately borne by the end consumer and is collected by businesses on behalf of the government. Unlike corporate tax, VAT is a consumption-based tax, affecting the final price of goods and services. While corporate tax impacts a company’s profits, VAT influences the overall cost of products and services for consumers. Understanding these distinctions is essential for businesses to manage their financial strategies, comply with taxation regulations, and provide accurate VAT services in the UAE. It’s important to note that tax regulations may change, so it’s recommended to refer to official sources or consult tax professionals for the most up-to-date information.


The differentiation between UAE corporate tax and VAT services is pivotal in comprehending the distinct taxation mechanisms in the United Arab Emirates. While UAE corporate tax, except for specific cases, is not extensively applicable to businesses’ profits, VAT services entail the imposition of a 5% Value Added Tax on goods and services, affecting the final cost borne by consumers. Corporate tax predominantly influences a company’s profitability and financial performance, whereas VAT services play a role in the broader economic landscape by contributing to government revenue through consumption-based taxation. As businesses navigate these differing tax structures, a comprehensive understanding of both corporate tax and VAT services in UAE is essential for strategic financial management and regulatory compliance within the UAE’s evolving tax framework.


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